The structure is like a box. Built on five-plus cents of land in the heart of Kochi, Edappally, to be precise, it’s in the running for a prestigious award for innovative architectural designs.

The plot had everything going against it. Set amidst thickly populated environs, it did not exactly fit into an architect’s scheme of designs. But K.M. Asif and Jisha got the house they wanted, thanks to Kollam-based architects Harikrishnan and Neenu Elizabeth.

Their structure is a sure proof of how a very contemporary house can be built amidst a cramped landscape. The land area was beset with problems aplenty, all of which were surmounted. As the plot was flanked by roads on either side, land had to be given up for the legally valid setback scheme. And this was the biggest challenge.

Adding insult to injury was the presence of a dirt channel, the breeding ground of mosquitoes and a source of perpetual stench. To provide ventilation, and that too, plenty of it, was another challenge. The house rose to meet all problems and is a fine example of modern designing and plan execution.

As the plot skirts a curve, the meeting point or the main entrance is from that corner-curve. Structured like a box, the main gates come in two patterns, one folding and the other, sliding. The white, grey and exposed brick color scheme makes the house stand apart. A great deal of exposed bricks has been used on the house. The nano coating over the bricks protects them from moisture, especially during the rains. The house with three courtyards… that’s how this structure is referred to.

The walls inside and the flooring are in concrete. It’s custom-made furniture for the living room. Airy and bright, the rooms are spacious and well-planned.

The three courtyards bring in Nature inside the walls. While two of them are set on either side of the living space, the third is in the main hall. The fabric curtains and custom-made lamps covered with fabric make the interiors colorful and stylish. The vertical elements inside make for good air flow. The horizontal windows and minimal furniture give the interiors an uncluttered feel.

The house with its box cutout space and special features is on the list of structures shortlisted for the IIA National Awards.